Prime Time Crime


(Published in the Similkameen Spotlight week of Apr. 25, 2005)

You Want Corruption?  We Got Corruption

  By John Martin

Now that the entire Sopranos series is available on DVD I was going to rent the multi disc package and kick back for the weekend.  But lately the Liberal Party of Canada has been giving me more organized crime melodrama than I can handle.

Speaking of kickbacks; did you see Mr. Dithers the other night giving the Canadian equivalent of Nixon’s famed, “I am not a crook” speech?  That was about the saddest most pathetic display of desperation on TV since Jimmy Swaggart got caught with a hooker in a sleazy motel.  If a dog looked that helpless you’d have him put down.

Allegations that lawyers routinely gave free advice and volunteered long hours on Liberal election campaigns in return for judgeships are far more serious than reports of stolen and laundered money.  If there’s just an inkling of truth that the Liberals included appointments to the bench as part of the thousands and thousands of patronage perks it rewards its supporters with – we’re finished.  It would mean we have joined the likes of Bangladesh, Haiti, Nigeria and Chad as one of the most corrupt countries on the planet.

We’d certainly be by far and away the most crooked nation with indoor plumbing.

And don’t expect too many people to ever be held accountable.  The Elections Act mandates that prosecutions for electoral fraud must commence within a maximum of eighteen months following the offence.

We already know of several Liberals who used laundered money illegally funnelled back to their campaigns to win their ridings in 2000.  But the window of opportunity to prosecute long expired and nothing can be done about.  As the Church Lady used to say, “how convenient”.

Conversely, the United States has increased the statute of limitations to five years for the precise violations the Liberal Party of Canada orchestrated; reimbursed donations through straw donors.  But you don’t have to visit a superpower to see how corrupt our system is by comparison.

Even Thailand, hardly a bastion of integrity and democracy, takes electoral corruption more seriously than we do.  In cases of election fraud, Thai officials have the authority to declare the election null and void. Their Election Commission can also seize cash and property from those who violate campaign finance laws.

In Mexico, public servants implicated in vote buying can be sentenced up to nine years in jail.  Here, we suspend them with pay and then give them their job back once the fuss dies down.

But every major crime family eventually falls and mercifully, it looks like the Liberals are going to get wiped off the electoral map; it’s just a matter of when.

I understand that in the meantime, Liberals are taking some comfort quoting from the movie Scarface; “Everyday above ground is a good day.”

John Martin is a Criminologist at the University College of the Fraser Valley and can be contacted at

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